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Nathan Prestopnik

Nathan Prestopnik

Portrait of Nathan Prestopnik
Get to Know Me

Something that excites me in my field...

The potential to transport people to places and events that they couldn't possibly experience in real life, including places and spaces designed around abstract concepts, aesthetics, and emotions.

My work has an impact on society because…

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and extended reality (VR, AR, and XR) are a new horizon for human-computer interaction, with great potential and many unanswered questions.

I first discovered my passion for this work...

In elementary school, I always told people I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. My creative medium has changed over time, from pencil to paint to video and film to websites to games and now to virtual reality experiences. But I still think of myself as an artist, and I think my passion started as soon as I had an inkling what that meant.

I find the most joy in my work when...

I'm building interesting things with creative, talented undergraduates.

My hidden talent...

Writing. Actually, it’s not really a very hidden talent, but my ability to write well has opened a lot of doors over the years.

The book(s) currently on my nightstand...

Westerns and Adventures by Louis L'Amour, the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell, golden era science fiction, or non-fiction military history.

If I had to choose one prized possession it would be…

My grandfather's paintings

My favorite quote...

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” 

— C.S. Lewis

Current University
Shenandoah University

Research Area

Virtual reality design and the digital humanities, serious games, citizen science, human-computer interaction (HCI)


Nathan Prestopnik is an associate professor of Virtual Reality Design and co-director of the Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning at Shenandoah University. 

He studies game design, interactive storytelling, mixed reality systems, citizen science and serious games, and the intersection of VR and the digital humanities. 

Previously, Prestopnik earned tenure in the Computer Science Department at Ithaca College. He also worked professionally as a web and interactive media designer for companies in California and New York.

Alma Mater

He holds bachelor degrees in film production and history, master’s degrees in new media and information science, and a PhD in information science from Syracuse University.